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Country - Released August 31, 2018 | Rhino

Michael Martin Murphey narrowed his focus a little for this 1997 set of horse-related songs, eschewing widescreen and outright prairie opera for some straightforward performances on straightforward songs. The exception is the opening "Tennessee Stud," set up as a duet with Johnny Cash, who alternates verses with Murphey. Much of the rest mixes adult contemporary with new country to mixed effect. It's well-done, but unaffecting. ~ Steven E. McDonald
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Country - Released November 11, 2016 | Rhino

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Country - Released October 16, 2015 | Rhino

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Country - Released September 9, 2016 | Rhino

Country - Released September 9, 2016 | Rhino

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Country - Released May 6, 2016 | Rhino

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With Detour, Cyndi Lauper is most definitely looking toward Nashville. It is from the Mecca of country music that the singer has put together this album on which she revisits Hard Candy Christmas written by Carol Hall and popularized by Dolly Parton. As she said herself, this album is intended as a "tribute to a time when country and rhythm'n'blues were close." The great Willie Nelson made the trip to appear on the track on Night Life in a duet with Lauper. "When he came in, I almost cried," declared the singer of Girls Just Want To Have Fun... But the most rebellious of country singers is not the only guest on the record, with Cyndi Lauper also inviting Emmylou Harris (Detour), Vince Gill (You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly), Jewel (I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart) and Alison Krauss (Hard Candy Christmas).
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Country - Released May 6, 2016 | Rhino

A spiritual sequel of sorts to Memphis Blues, Detour finds Cyndi Lauper swapping out blues for country & western. The "western" part of the equation is crucial to Detour, a record equally enamored of cowboy camp as it is of Music City craft and corn. Such a wide purview is testament to Lauper's taste-savvy show biz sensibilities, but by balancing ballads with riotous romps, she winds up with a bit of a mess on her hands. On their own, the slow-burning-torch set pieces of "End of the World" and "I Fall to Pieces" have their charms -- they offer ample evidence of Lauper's nuance and control, elements that are often underrated -- but when paired with the ferocious, mincing wink of "You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly," "Cowboy Sweetheart," and "Detour," the spell is broken. Matters aren't helped much by the presence of Dolly Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas" -- a fine, faithful rendition that closes off the record on a sweet note --= and the crisp, digital modern sheen of the opener "Funnel of Love," elements that pull Detour even further down a winding backroad. Such sudden shifts in tone might work better on-stage than they do on record, and with its cavalcade of guest stars, Detour often does play a bit like a stage revue, for better or worse. After all, much of Lauper's charm lies in her innate theatricality, and when she's paired with someone who shares her humor -- Emmylou Harris on "Detour" and, especially, Vince Gill on "You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly" -- there's a crackling vitality that nevertheless winds up diluting the diva showstoppers, something that could possibly be finessed on-stage but seems like a sharp turn on record. Nevertheless, on a track-by-track level, Detour has a few stumbles -- the biggest is "Night Life," and that's due to the gravelly growl of Willie Nelson, not Lauper -- and if it's taken as a collection of performances and not a coherent record, it's fun. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Country - Released March 28, 2016 | Rhino

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Taking their cue from the highly active female-fronted alternative rock movement of the '90s, Dolly makes music that lands somewhere between the lush simplicity of Veruca Salt and the poignant songwriting of Bettie Serveert. They have definitely learned their lesson from the masters and utilize the sense of dynamics and use of fuzzy production techniques that have helped many like-minded artists put across their message. But for what Dolly offers in sheer visceral pleasantries, they still have a bit of a problem in the songwriting department. Their songs are quite enjoyable, but they don't really stand out from one another. The simple melodies and stylish guitar work do more damage than help, as they tend to make everything sound the same even though there is a very noticeable difference between the tracks when actually examined. But the band makes a very enjoyable noise, even if it is fairly indistinguishable, making this an entertaining but unessential album. Fans of this style of playing should definitely check this out; the band has the right idea, they just need to perfect the delivery. ~ Bradley Torreano

Country - Released February 18, 2016 | Rhino

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Country - Released October 30, 2012 | Rhino

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Country - Released July 18, 2006 | Rhino

Rhino's 2006 double-disc set Billboard #1s: Classic Country serves up 30 big hits that have topped the Billboard Country charts, stretching back as far as Hank Snow's 1950 standard "I'm Moving On" and running all the way to Randy Travis' 1987 classic "Forever and Ever, Amen." Not that the songs on Billboard #1s: Classic Country are presented in chronological order. It skips around liberally, starting with Willie Nelson's 1980 hit "On the Road Again," then going back to the '60s for Buck Owens ("Act Naturally"), Patsy Cline ("I Fall to Pieces"), and Tammy Wynette ("Stand by Your Man") before reaching back to 1956 for Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" and then going ahead to 1975 for Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" -- and that's just the first six songs. Some collections would suffer from such a haphazard sequencing, but since this compilation is just meant to be a handy roundup of some of the best-known country crossover hits of the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s, it doesn't matter here. And this is a good collection of very well-known songs, the kind of set that will appeal to casual country fans who want good-quality versions of a bunch of standards like "Hello Walls," "El Paso," "King of the Road," "Mama Tried," "For the Good Times," "Behind Closed Doors," and "The Gambler." There are a couple of odd choices, like Highway 101's "Somewhere Tonight," but there are no bad choices, making this a good sampler of some of the biggest country hits of the second half of the 20th century. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Country - Released April 14, 2009 | Rhino

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Country - Released May 13, 1994 | Rhino

Rhino's budget-priced, ten-track Classic Western Swing contains the hit versions of such Bob Wills staples as "San Antonio Rose," "Time Changes Everything," "Faded Love," "Roly-Poly," "Steel Guitar Rag," "My Window Faces the South," "Take Me Back to Tulsa," "Stay a Little Longer," "Big Beaver" and "Cherokee Maiden." There isn't any historical perspective on the disc, nor does it give a true sense of Wills' greatness, but for any casual listener who just wants the big hits -- or the neophyte reluctant to spend more than eight dollars on a disc -- this works just fine. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Country - Released February 8, 1991 | Rhino

Marc Cohn is one of the finest debut albums of the 1990s, and it brought adult piano pop back to the radio. Every song is well-crafted, and Cohn's singalong choruses, introspective lyrics, and vocal stylings reveal his '60s soul and '70s singer/songwriter influences. His voice is rich, but has a roughness that adds emotion when stretching to the upper end of his range while remaining subtle at the lower end. Marc Cohn shows himself to be an accomplished and versatile songwriter, from the uplifting gospel opener "Walking in Memphis," the hit for which he is widely known, to the concluding love letter "True Companion." Cohn has a great ear for melody and a keen eye for detail that immediately grab your attention and reward the listener with repeated plays. The album's highlight, "Silver Thunderbird," is a prime example of Cohn's ability to combine storytelling with an unbelievably catchy chorus. It is not surprising that the songs played on piano work better than those written for guitar; however, the album is surprisingly consistent, even for a debut. This album is worth checking out for any listener who wonders where the tuneful pop and soul of the Big Chill era went. ~ Vik Iyengar
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Country - Released December 19, 2006 | Rhino

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Country - Released December 19, 2006 | Rhino

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Country - Released January 17, 2006 | Rhino

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Country - Released July 18, 2006 | Rhino

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Country - Released March 14, 2006 | Rhino